Monday, March 2, 2015

Kukula Traditional Healers BCP Revision workshop

Natural Justice together with partners K2C and Wits Rural Facility (WRF), facilitated a BCP revision workshop for the Kukula Traditional Healers (KTH) of Bushbuckridge, South Africa, on 16 – 18th February 2015. Over twenty KTH members participated including representatives from the Executive and Management Committees. The objectives of the workshop were to revise the KTH Biocultural Community Protocol (BCP) to reflect the Kukula’s priorities and to address key stakeholder needs. 

During the first day of the workshop participants listed their achievements in 2014, and discussed current challenges and priorities for 2015. Mr Johan Lorenzen, from Richard Spoor Inc. Attorney’s, presented on laws, policies and recent legal developments which support the KTH and their aims. Key outside stakeholders participated on day two of the workshop, sessions included ‘governance and leadership’ where representatives from Traditional Authorities and KTH members discussed ways to strengthen their relationship and to improve the management of medicinal plants in communal areas. This was followed by a session exploring possibilities for the sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants in protected areas. 

Prof. Twine from WRF opened with a presentation on experiences to date in Mariepskop Forest Reserve. Representatives from South African National Parks, then discussed their obligations to the conservation of biodiversity and various opportunities which the KTH could explore regards accessing medicinal plants in protected areas. On the final day, through a participatory planning process KTH members developed an action plan for the year, and also discussed how to incorporate the issues which had surfaced during the workshop into a revised BCP.

Dr’s Elisa Morgera and Louisa Parks, from the Benelex Project joined the workshop as observers, as South Africa is a country they have selected to carry out an empirical study of biocultural community protocols as tools for articulating and implementing benefit sharing.

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